Samsung accuses Apple of copying its tablet design from the 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey." The Korean company states that Director Stanley Kubrick designed the iPad2, not Apple.
This allegation was based on a clip of the said film, which is posted in the Foss Patents site, and downloaded through this link: at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ8pQVDyaLo. Lasting around one minute, this part of the film shows two astronauts eating. On the table, they each have tablet-like personal computers. The device has a similar design as claimed by the D'889 Patent - rectangular shape, narrow borders, flat front surface, flat back surface, and a thin form.
Samsung also intends to use in its defence, a clip from the 1970s British TV series "The Tomorrow People," which also shows tablet computers similar to the iPad.
This is the latest development in the Apple-Samsung patent infringement suit. Apple has accused Samsung of copying its products, specifically the iPhone and iPad. Apple has been awarded a temporary injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe and Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Samsung will not be able to sell the device until it clears the patent issue with Apple.
On the other hand, "By pointing to an example of a similar design made public in 1968, even if not an actual functioning tablet device, Samsung hopes to demonstrate that there is little variation possible when designing a tablet and show that the general concept used by Apple for the iPad has actually been circulating for decades," MacRumors said.
Mark Summerfield, senior associate at the Melbourne-based intellectual property law form Watermark, states that Samsung may have a case.
Neither director Stanley Kubrick, not writer Arthur C. Clarke could have invented the iPad2 in their depiction of tablet-like devices in the 2001: A Space Odyssey film, Summerfield states in his blog, patentology.com.au.
"However, they may have designed its external appearance, and this may be enough to prevent Apple from enforcing its alleged intellectual property rights in relation to the physical appearance of its latest tablet. Since registered designs (or design patents) protect appearance, you cannot have a valid and enforceable registration for something which looks the same as, or too similar to, a previously-existing article. There is no reason why such a prior article should need to be functional. For example, you would not be entitled to protect a design for a working car that had simply been copied from an earlier clay model, or non-functional 'concept', that had been created by someone else. Indeed, by doing so you would most likely be infringing their copyright." he continues.
Utility-wise, Arthur C. Clarke, in his book that inspired the film, describes a tablet device similar to the iPad, the Sydney Morning Herald shares. In the book, Clarke narrates how a person views electronic papers and reports from Earth through his "foolscap-size newspad," complete with zoom functions.
On the Samsung Galaxy Tablet front, the company claims that it might launch the Galaxy Tab in Australia. Samsung and Apple are expected to meet in Federal Court for a directions hearing on Monday, the SMH reports.
To contact the editor, e-mail: